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August 6, 2019

The Doctor Will See You Now: How 5G Will Transform Healthcare .

The Doctor Will See You Now: How 5G Will Transform Healthcare


Luke Kopetsky

5G is already having a positive impact on some of America’s most critical institutions, including hospitals.

5G will help doctors better serve patients by giving them the speed and power to make healthcare processes more customizable and efficient. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of integrating 5G into the healthcare space.

Improving patient access through remote care.

Geography is often a major impediment to a patient receiving the care they need, but thankfully 5G will enable solutions that address the difficulty of providing specialized care over long distances.

For example, MRIs and other data-rich medical images must be sent from hospitals to specialists for analysis and diagnosis, but image transfers can be time-consuming. 5G will address this problem by allowing for the lightning-fast transmission of even the largest image files, such as MRIs.

VR and AR can bring doctor and patient together over wireless—at Verizon’s 5G Lab in New York, researchers are experimenting with providing physical therapy over 5G connections. The therapist can watch a patient do rehabilitative exercises in real time using a VR headset, allowing them to adjust the movements as necessary.

5G technology will also bolster the efficacy of telemedicine by enabling the required high-quality real-time video streaming—while on the go.

Wearable technology to help track your health.

Wearable technologies that monitor vital signs or glucose levels have the potential to empower patients and radically improve the quality of healthcare. These devices can act as early-warning systems, helping both patients and doctors identify and address medical issues in a proactive manner. Wearable devices’ ability to perform routine monitoring tasks can help keep hospital resources free for more urgent or complex care.

Wearable technology can also help patients with chronic conditions. 5G networks would give medical professionals the ability to continuously collect complex data derived from tremor-tracking devices developed by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. This helps doctors to ascertain if a patient’s symptoms are deteriorating—and pinpoint the possible causes of the deterioration—significantly faster than current technology permits.

Using wireless to hone in on a diagnosis.

As AI continues to develop and become more proficient, experts predict it will play an increasingly important role in healthcare. AI will eventually be able to help doctors diagnose patients quickly, and recommend specialized treatments based on the collection of vast sets of medical data. In fact, AI is making a positive difference already in early detection of degenerative diseases and other areas of medicine, including mental healthcare.

The large amount of active data-processing needed for the machine learning integral to AI technology requires a high-bandwidth and low-latency network— exactly what 5G will provide.

Wireless technology reduces maintenance costs.

With 5G, hospitals can replace clunky wiring systems with wireless technology. At Rush University Medical Center, the ability to remove cabling was a key factor in the decision to bring AT&T’s 5G into the hospital. Eliminating cabling while improving network speeds will result in major reductions in maintenance costs that accompany traditional wired computer systems.

5G’s increased speeds, reduced latency and large data capacities will have a major impact across industries, including in healthcare. We can’t wait to see how 5G helps us lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.

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